Do all control freaks walk around feeling sick and with a knot in their stomach?
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Do all control freaks walk around feeling sick and with a knot in their stomach?

Do all control freaks walk around feeling sick and with a knot in their stomach?

I had a coaching session with a client recently who was feeling really overwhelmed and out of control in many parts of her life. She explained that she was walking around feeling physically sick most of the time.

Ideally, she wanted ‘to feel more in control without feeling like a control freak’. On further investigation we uncovered that at the heart of the matter was a belief that she held of “I have to have everything under control”. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and NPL put a belief such as this in the “All or Nothing” thinking category. As you can see from the belief “I have to have everything under control” it is an extreme view and when used as a reference point, it takes away the person’s flexibility and options – no grey area. With a belief like this, a person can only believe that they are successful or a complete failure in tasks and life in general. And it’s sure to bring up feelings of being out of control, anxiety and overwhelm.

The important thing in such cases is to shine a light on the thinking so that the client can see it for what it really is – faulty and unhealthy. We set about analyzing the “I have to have everything under control” belief. My client soon realised that, by holding such a belief, the negatives completely outweighed the positives. Her main epiphanies, having lived with this belief, were that she had been putting unrealistic expectations on herself and it had meant that she didn’t trust anyone, except herself, to do anything – damaging relationships, taking up huge amounts of her time and energy and, all the while, causing herself unnecessary anxiety, stress and overwhelm.

So this belief had to go and to be replaced with what? After some wordsmithing she settled on “I want to feel that everything is under control”. It’s a subtle change, right? You’ll notice that holding this belief allows her to still have a sense of control (which is so important to her) but there is flexibility in how that control is achieved – she doesn’t have to be the ‘one’ who is in control all the time. It’s sure to help with relationships and delegation going forward.

Her immediate reaction, after settling on this new empowering belief, was: “Do you know for the first time in ages I don’t have a knot in my stomach and I don’t feel sick”.

The final step is to embed the new belief into the subconscious so that it becomes the new reference point and overwrites the old belief. This is done by repeating the new belief 30 times every day for 30 days. Just before going to sleep is a great time to do this.

For more on Limiting beliefs go to